What to Expect When You Come to the Family Therapy Program

Contact Us

The program is located across three different locations in Providence. You can call us at 401-606-0606.

The Family Therapy Program coordinates care with the Outpatient Psychiatry Department, and is affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.


We begin with a comprehensive assessment. This is all we initially ask families to commit to, and all we commit to up front as well.

  • All family members age 12 and over complete a set of questionnaires,
  • Meet with at least one member of the family therapy team.
  • All family members will have a chance to lay out any issues or concerns they see themselves facing as a family, with the understanding that purpose of the meeting is simply to get a lay of the land, not to solve problems or manage crises.
  • The clinician will ask questions designed to help him or her get to know the family:
    • We want to learn what a typical day is like
    • How tasks in the family are divided up
    • How the family handles challenges all families encounter
    • Areas where things are running smoothly, and areas that feel more difficult.
  • The therapist will ask any outstanding questions.
  • The therapist will present his or her understanding of the family, gleaned both from questionnaire data and from the initial interview.
  • Family members will have an opportunity to add anything the therapist missed, or correct anything they feel the therapist got wrong.
  • Once the family and the therapist have come to a shared understanding of how the family operates and what the family is facing, the therapist will outline options for how to proceed, which may or may not include family therapy.
  • The therapist and the family then discuss how they want to proceed with the proposed options.

Contracting for Treatment

When families agree to enter treatment, they:

  • Identify specific issues they want to address, and specific steps they plan to take to address them.
  • They discuss with the therapist a reasonable timeframe for treatment.
  • Discuss expectations for attendance and tasks to be completed between sessions.


  • Families and therapist discuss progress toward previously agreed upon goals.
  • They focus on successes or struggles in addressing an agreed upon problem list.
  • Families practice new ways of communicating, handling emotions, and problem solving in sessions.
  • Families identify tasks to be completed between sessions in order to address mutually agreed upon goals.

End of Treatment

Treatment ends when any of the following happens:

  • Both the family and the therapist agree that adequate progress has been made in the mutually agreed upon goals that were established at the beginning of treatment.
  • The family no longer wants to participate.
  • The family is unable to follow through on mutually agreed upon tasks.